WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced a bill today that could help establish a joint Army-Navy storage and preservation facility at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle.
The Joint Military Heritage Preservation Act of 2012 would mandate a Defense Department study of the feasibility of bringing a portion of the Navy's historical collections to the center and creating a joint Army-Navy storage and preservation facility.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is an original cosponsor of the bill. U.S. Representative Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) will introduce a companion bill in the House.
"The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is ideally suited for this mission. This facility in Carlisle already has the technology, capability, staff and knowledge to help the Navy better preserve its documents and history," Sen. Toomey said. "I thank Sen. Casey and Rep. Barletta for joining me in supporting this bipartisan measure, and I hope my fellow members of Congress will join us to preserve our precious military history collections and educate future generations about the sacrifices our service members and veterans have made to protect our freedoms."
"The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center performs a significant service in deepening our understanding and appreciation of the Army's rich history. Bringing artifacts from the Washington Navy Yard to Carlisle has the potential to broaden and deepen the resources available to visitors and researchers," Sen. Casey said. "Getting this study started is the first step towards bolstering the Army Heritage museum as a key repository of our nation's history for years to come."
"I had the privilege of touring the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center earlier this year, and I was very impressed by the state-of-the-art preservation techniques and capabilities the center provides. Historical U.S. Navy documents need to be saved and protected for future generations, so moving them to AHEC - a facility that is clearly capable of doing those things - makes a lot of sense. I'm pleased to work with Sens. Toomey and Casey on legislation that aims to preserve these vital military history collections and expand the role of the Army Heritage and Education Center," Rep. Barletta said.
Army Heritage board members and veterans' advocates praised the legislation.
"As a member of the Army Heritage Center Foundation's board, I appreciate the great facilities and staff that the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center has. Its archival storage and conservation facilities are among the best in the nation. As a former Army officer, I understand the need for the services to work together in this time of constrained resources, and I believe joint use of the center's capabilities benefits all," said retired Army Lieutenant Colonel William Harner of Carlisle.
"I appreciate the great facilities and staff of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. They have consistently met the challenges of growing a great institution. Their research center, exhibit galleries and conservation facilities are among the best. I believe an Army partnership that helps preserve Navy historical materials is a great opportunity, and I fully support this legislation," said Chris Gleason of Johnstown, vice chairman of the Army Heritage Center Foundation.
"The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle has the knowledge and capability to help the Navy store, preserve and display its collections in a high-tech, well-managed space. Further using this existing facility to showcase the U.S. Navy's history would honor all Navy veterans while also benefitting the commonwealth," said retired Army Sergeant Ruth Fairchild of New Castle, state commander of the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars.